Celebrating Sommerlad Chickens

12 Oct 2018

Each time they arrive, we do a quiet little celebratory dance. There's nothing else like them, both in terms of flavour and their importance in regenerative agriculture in Australia.

Award-winning Sommerlad Heritage chickens represent a profoundly welcome return to the days before a single genetic strain of white chicken was raised by the thousands in artificial light inside sheds with the exclusive purpose of achieving maximum efficiency, volume and speed to market with the least investment.

We’re proud to have been actively supporting this project and selling Sommerlad birds since late 2014.

Read some of our previous Sommerlad posts:  

Our first delivery of Sommerlad chicken
Why did the chicken cross the road?

Never bare the earth

Try it for yourself. Get your Sommerlad chicken here.

Unlike Cobb/Ross white meat chickens which are received by farmers as day-olds from large, commercial hatcheries, the Sommerlad birds are bred, hatched and raised by a skilled farmers at a handful of select farms across Australia.

Sommerlad Heritage chickens are the result of a 15 year breeding project developed by Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad to develop an old-fashioned, deeply-flavoured table bird designed specifically to thrive outside on Australian pastures with the highest animal welfare outcomes. Sommerlad Heritage chickens won the national Delicious Produce Award 'From the Paddock' category in 2015 and 2016 and were awarded a special Innovation Award in the same competition in 2016.

Sommerlad chickens live on pasture for between 12 -16 weeks. This is up to three times longer than conventional white broilers which make up the remainder of the Australian meat industry and is a consequence of the slow growing genetics that allow for the development of strong bones and more deeply flavoured meat. Sommerlad birds have longer legs and more even meat distribution than the breast-heavy white broiler chicken and they are vigorous, athletic and curious, ranging far afield in search of grubs and green pick.

They’re wonderful to look at too, with multi-coloured feathers and a variety of colours, shapes and sizes - breeds include Transylvanian Naked Necks, Australian Game, Croad Langshan and Plymouth Rock.

"We’ve specifically bred them to thrive in free-range pasture rearing environments. (Characteristics include) active foraging behaviour, heat-resistance, balanced body confirmation and strong legs, as well as good liveability with improved, natural resistance to diseases endemic to Australian poultry flocks.”
Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad

"The flavour of a Sommerlad chicken is something very special, it’s the combination of the heritage breeds that makes this chicken stand out. The free range environment and the naturally slower growing birds also helps to develop their full flavour."
Peter Gilmore, Executive Chef, Quay Restaurant


This video, by Katherine Sommerlad, illustrates the importance of Sommerlad birds, the farmers who grow them and the customers who buy them. 


Try it for yourself. Get your Sommerlad chicken here.

Mel's roast Sommerlad chook

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.